Salaries on the Rise in the Middle East

Salaries on the Rise in the Middle East

One of the great perks for becoming an expatriate in the Gulf States is the great salaries available. No matter the business sector, wages in the region are traditionally very competitive globally; these are also paired with fantastic tax advantages. This trend is continuing into 2016, with multiple signs indicating that salaries are on the rise.

The evidence

• According to a new survey by Gulf Talent, salaries across the Gulf are projected to rise by an average of 5.2%. This is driven by the competition for talent and rising cost of living. At the same time, the strength of the US dollar, to which most Gulf currencies are pegged, is helping make Gulf salaries more attractive for expatriates, reducing upward pressure on wages.

• Qatar and Oman will have the highest salary increases .The surge of economic activity in Qatar is driven by the 2022 World Cup has contributed to growth in pay. Meanwhile, the increased unionization of the labor force in Oman continues to put pressure on salaries there.

construction in oman

• Professionals in Saudi Arabia are expected to see the highest average pay rises at 5.9%. This raise, however, will be offset in part by the Kingdom’s higher rate of inflation.

• The United Arab Emirates is forecasted to see a 5.3% average pay rise. Bahrain is expected to have the lowest average pay rises, at 3.7%. Bahrain’s lower average pay rise can be contributed to the country’s heavy exposure to the oil price downturn, as well as its continued recovery from recent political unrest.

How does this affect expatriates?

Rising salaries across the Gulf could be perceived as boon for expatriates. While this growth does offer promise, it should also be treated with careful consideration. As diligent business professionals, it is understood that every decision or action is the result of previous circumstances, and present actions will further affect future circumstances. Consider the following:

With higher salaries, many organizations may not create as many jobs as before if salaries were to be sustained or even decreased. Expect moderate hiring activity across the region as a whole, which will contribute to a more competitive job market. It will be more important than ever to conduct pre-application research, network effectively and to fully prepare for interviews.


Keep in mind that one’s industry and the particular expat destination still play a critical role in how to gauge the amount of opportunities available. For instance, the construction and healthcare sectors should see the greatest growth in acquiring talent. The petroleum and telecommunications sectors, however, project to see the lowest growth of opportunities.

Rising salaries are also coinciding with a rising cost of living seen across the Gulf. Over the last several years, costs have increased with the rising standard of living in the region. Some of these costs include increased prices for fuel, food, and imports. While these costs are rising, it is important that these are still relatively slow compared to many of the home nations that the expatriates would be coming from.

Life in the Gulf can be a life-changing adventure. Not only that, but salaries are on the rise! For the prospective expatriate, the Gulf still maintains its distinction as a region where they can earn an outstanding salary, enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, and experience a different way of life.

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